It may be getting less difficult to move around within Africa, but outside Africa, our passports are still as powerless as they were. Now, more than ever.
Earlier this week, the annual Henley Passport Index showed that there has been an overall decline in the strength of African passports compared to other continents. The strongest African passport still belongs to the Seychelles, with Mauritius and South Africa ranked second and third, same as last year.
Nigerian, Ethiopian and Somali passports have the least freedom of travel on the continent. Seychelles and Mauritius improved their passport standings over the last 10 years – Seychelles climbed 17 places, and Mauritius 16 places. The improvement are largely due to the fact that they’re the only African countries who have a visa-waiver agreement with the Schengen (European) area, not to mention that Seychelles is a visa-free country, with no requirements for any traveller wishing to visit and Mauritius does not require a visa from a majority of the world’s travellers, and only requires 16 countries’ citizens to apply for a visa before travel.
Nigeria is the biggest faller over the last decade, losing 22 spots, followed by Sierra Leone and Libya, which dropped 20 and 18 places respectively. Nigerians can only travel to 46 countries without a visa (or with visa on arrival), most of those countries being in Africa.
Although an increasing number of African states are dropping visa requirements for other countries – in the last two years, Benin, Ghana and Kenya dropped visa requirements for African travellers, while Rwanda became a visa-free country – the rankings indicate just how hard it still is for African travellers. Apart from the bottom ranked countries, most Africans can travel to fewer than 100 countries without a visa.
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